Many in New Orleans would say that summer simply hasn't been the same since Pontchartrain Beach, and its sensory overload of an amusement park, closed down in 1983 (the beach was later reopened but closed in 2012 after two drownings). While we're not going to get the amusement park back—which is a shame, considering New Orleans still doesn't have a real amusement park—the beach may reopen in the near future: the Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation, the group behind the "Save Our Lake" campaign to improve water quality of the area, has asked the Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, which oversees the beach, to allow it to reopen it as a public swimming area and nature preserve.
NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune and The Advocate report that the foundation would lease the beach from the levee board and open the beach on a trial basis for a year, mostly for scheduled events with the intention to raise money to continue to develop the beach. The levee board will present the foundation's proposal at a meeting this Thursday, May 21; the beach could reopen in 2016. When the beach does reopen there's not going to be lifeguards, though, so if you plan to swim it'll be like many things in New Orleans: do it at your own risk.
· Pontchartrain Beach, minus the Zephyr and amusement park rides, could reopen in 2016
· Lake Foundation asks to lease Pontchartrain Beach for public swimming beach